“Why is marketing for print magazines so outdated?” an industry blog asked after receiving a direct mail offer from a major news magazine that featured all the pizzazz of, well, a 1990s direct mail piece.

Given the creative efforts the magazine industry puts into promoting digital content, the blog, Dead Tree Edition, couldn’t help but point up the irony. However, print publications drive digital content, so magazine subscriptions still need to be sold – even if only to niche audiences. “Being associated with a print magazine has an immensely favorable impact both on a web site’s traffic and its ad rates,” the blog noted.

Still, that doesn’t mean solicitations for print magazines need to be stale, especially when there’s a ton of innovation going on in direct mail these days. Marketers are integrating digital technologies, such as augmented reality or video-in-print, into printed matter, creating a whole new dimension to mail – and boosting the experience for the recipient.

The Postal Service not only recognizes this trend but is encouraging it. Its 2017 Mailing Promotions include three offerings that provide discounts to mailers that incorporate technology or interactive elements into the mailpiece:

  • The Mobile Shopping Promotion encourages highlighting the connection between the mailpiece and the digital shopping experience. Discounts are given on pieces that include a social media “buy button” or QR codes, snap tags, watermarks, or other advanced technologies that drive customers to an online purchase.
  • The Tactile, Sensory & Interactive Engagement Promotion leverages the physical aspects of mail, as well as the advances in print technology, so marketers and mailers can enhance how customers interact and engage with mail. Eligible mailers receive a discount for incorporating a multi-sensory experience in their mailpiece.
  • The Emerging & Advanced Technology/Video in Print Promotion encourages mailers to integrate direct mail with an emerging or advanced technology, such as augmented reality or virtual reality.

So, here we have yet two more examples of digital and physical needing each other: magazines still need print versions of their publications to drive consumers to their digital offerings; and direct mail can help boost the digital shopping experience.

And of course the long-standing relationship between publishers and the Postal Service remains strong. 

What direct mail ads have you received that caught your attention? Did they include any kind of multi-sensory or digital feature?

Comments (5)

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  • anon

    I live in Grandy,NC. Mailed my vehicle insurance check to raleigh. 7 days later, still hasn't got there. Ask the post master how many days normally would it take to get there, 2 he said. Maybe the bar code got messed up he said. I have mailed it many times before in the self addressed envelope. Sent anther letter out the exact same time which should have been a 3 day trip, low and behold it hasn't got to its destination in seven days also. Pretty sad to have to watch for your bills every month in case you need to call and have them to reissue you another one because you can't rely on the postal service to get them to you or you can not rely on them to get your mail to its destination

    Mar 10, 2017
  • anon

    I have been living in a town in NC for about a year and 1/2 now. I don't go directly to a post office often HOWEVER, when I DO I expect, as a new resident, to be able to find it. I have gone on line to find the closest one to me - 3 miles away to another town. Fine. Then I want to call to ask a question...the number is disconnected/discontinued and NO new number given. So I go out in my car looking for the place...finding that the address on the internet is a vet office. NO notice that the PO has moved, was never there or anything. Mind you, I have lived here for over a year. I FINALLY stop a fireman and ask...thank goodness he knew...it was down one road, take a left after a while take a right and it is in the grocery store shopping center - out of town about 2 miles...SO I have spent 45 minutes on the road finding this place. I go in and the clerk was the rudest person I have in all my 70+ years ever met. She was nasty, sassy, unhelpful, denied I had mailed and received a tracking number WITHOUT having to send signature delivery requested...when I told her I had done it several times before she sassed that she had been a postal worker (?) for THREE YEARS and she should know...I am absolutely incensed with her behavior - no wonder no one wants to use USPS...nasty people, bad "service", always "misplacing" mail and inconsistent deliveries. You should ALL BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES...I am thoroughly disgusted and I KNOW my grandfather who was a carrier would be absolutely embarrassed to tell ANYONE he worked some 40 years for the USPS....GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER AND HIRE SOME COMPETENT PEOPLE!!!

    Mar 07, 2017
  • anon

    Tracking indicates mail was "delivered, in/at mailbox", HOWEVER, mail was NOT in/at mailbox. Postman was useless. 1.800.ASK.USPS phone number is totally and completely useless... 30 minutes of transfer here/transfer there with NO option to deal with a missing package; AND NO OPTION TO SPEAK TO A HUMAN (did I mention 30 minutes?) Ridiculous !

    Mar 07, 2017
  • anon

    First of all does anyone read these emails from the USPS who can actually help... I have been trying for 3 days to verbally speak to some one to no avail. Every thing Mike has stated in the BLOG above is a definite FACT... The entire process is useless.. I mailed a CERTIFIED envelope on Feb 28, from Clifton NJ to Trenton NJ, roughly 70 miles. I was told it would get there in 2-3 days.. The tracking process indicates that it will finally get there today March 10, 2017.. The tracking info followed the CERTIFIED envelop from Clifton NJ to Kearny NJ, to Trenton NJ ( the correct destination ),on March 2. Instead of it being delivered, it was sent to Fayetteville, NC on March 4. It was next sent to Charlotte NC on March 7. On March 8 it ,it was sent back up to Jersey City NJ, back to Kearny NJ and is now on the way to TRENTON, NJ AGAIN , which is the final destination, where it was 8 days ago. This is an absurd process which cost $7.29. There is a dead line date required for this piece of Certified mail .. HOPEFULLY it will get there before the due date.. Then USPS wonders why it can't make money or why it is losing customers.. In the future I will certainly be using a different CARRIER. I hope I can get a reponse from the USPS..

    Mar 10, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you for your comment. We do read the comments and pass along relevant information to our auditors and investigators. However, we wanted to make clear that we are the Office of Inspector General and these issues fall outside of our jurisdiction. If you have not already done so, please try contacting your local Post Office. If you have already done that, try contacting USPS Customer Service, 1 (800) 275-8777, or to file an online complaint with Customer Service (and for frequently asked questions), go to the USPS Website and enter "Customer Service Help" in the search function.

    Mar 15, 2017

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